December 07, 2005


On Wednesdays, I am not a student. I am a destructional insigner. It’s like being an instructional designer, but I tear apart things other people have written.

The day begins with waking late. Wednesdays are always about waking up late for some reason. That means I can’t spend time scrambling an egg for breakfast, a sandwich has to do.

When I begin running with my laptop in my bag, I have to remember not to cross the road on the bridge like I do everyday, because the tube station is on my side of the bridge. At the tube station, I have to walk against the crowd, because everyone from all over the London wants to work where I live.

Each tube line has its own character. The Northern Line (when going south) is about almost-yellow lighting and a few serious looking people sitting and reading books, resigning themselves to the slow moving train taking them to their destination far away from the heart of London. Few Aryan specimens on this route.

The District Line to Wimbledon etc. has a train with boring gray rails and a seating pattern that makes you sit uncomfortably close to another person and forces you to stare uncomfortably at the person opposite you. The trains are jam packed, and there are no newspapers to read, unless you bring your own. The cheerful upholstery highlights the miserable looks on people’s faces.

The Central Line is my favorite, perhaps a Mudrika hangover for the dilli-walli (hajjaar times better than the Mudrika, though) It has bright yellow rails, sensible seating along the walls, lots of copies of trashy tabloids to read, and cheerful I-Pod toting, singing, chatting people. They seem to be going to work, or shopping, or god knows where. But they’re cool. Not least because I am one of them.

The tube station at which I alight has beautiful Christmas decorations, and being a major shopping area, is a dazzling spectacle these days. People queue up outside H&M before it opens, and the sale hasn’t even begun yet! A smiling old lady tries to hand me a pamphlet (always a different color) each Wednesday as I pass her by. The florist has all flowers except the ones I want: Narcissi.

I have to step out for lunch. This is a strange area of the city, in that there is actually a two-kilometre stretch without a single Subway outlet! Usually, if you cannot spot a Subway for one kilometer, it means you are not in a shopping place. If you cannot spot a Subway for two kilometers, you are definitely not in Central London, you’re probably in some two-digit zone. (Corollary: If you cannot spot twenty-three Starbucks outlets from the chink in the bathroom window, you are no longer in London).

In the evening, I window-shop in M&S before I take the tube back, though by week nine, most disgruntled sales assistants have been holding scarves/kettles/caps that I promised to come back and pick up but never did.
Then it’s time to take the tube back… (Westbound while coming and westbound while going…I have given up trying to figure that one out) and re-reading the tabloids as children hang from the bright yellow rails around me.


Inane Intellections said...

Westbound while coming and Westbound while going.

Damn these Westerners

But then West of West comes East!!!

Ink Spill said...


Anonymous said...

Inky Ji, aap apne "Aarghs" aur "Uffs" ke baad ":p" ya ":)" definitely lagaya karo, warna hum consternate ho jaate hain!! Thankoo.

Rajesh said...

Argh..! The life inside the Tube. And yeah, for some odd reason, I just love the central line, just for that little gush of air you feel in ur ears when you get to the surface :)

Rajesh said...

And.. I just remembered.. If you are taking the circle line, westbound bothways makes perfect sense.